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Caring for a patient in a vegetative state

George John


The vegetative state was first defined by Jennet and Plum in 1972. It can occur as a result of trauma, hypoxia or degenerative diseases. It can be considered a result of improvements in resuscitation, retrieval and intensive care which sustain cardiovascular and respiratory functions but are not perfect enough to maintain cerebral function. There is no more devastating or morally challenging condition in modern medicine than the persistent vegetative state.

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